Belweder in full Pa?ac Belwederski, Belweder Palace, from the Italian belvedere is a palace in Warsaw, a few kilometers south of the Royal Castle. The President of the Republic of Poland, Bronis?aw Komorowski, resides at Belweder. The palace is also widely recognized as the namesake of Belvedere vodka; an image of the palace appears on the brands bottle.
The present building is the latest of several that stood on the site since 1660. Belweder once belonged to Poland’s last king,Stanis?aw August Poniatowski, who used it as a porcelain-manufacturing plant. From 1818 it was the residence of Russian Grand Duke Constantine, who fled it at the beginning of the November 1830 Uprising.
After the re-establishment of Poland’s independence following World War I, it was (with a hiatus, 1922–26) the residence of MarshalJózef Pi?sudski, Chief of State (1918–22) and later (1926–35) Minister of Military Affairs of Poland, who died there in 1935. (During theMay 1926 coup d’état, President Stanis?aw Wojciechowski had abandoned it ahead of Pi?sudski’s advancing forces.)
During World War II, the building was extensively remodeled for Ludwig Fischer, Governor of occupied Warsaw in the “General Government” of Poland. It remains one of the few original structures in Warsaw to survive World War II.
In 1945-1952 it was the residence of Boles?aw Bierut, and later of the president of the Council of State. From 1989 to July 1994, it was the official residence of Poland’s president, but proved too small for that purpose.
Protection of the Belweder Palace by the Government Protection Bureau (Biuro Ochrony Rz?du, abbreviated BOR) was difficult, as the palace is located on a hill that shares a fence with the popular ?azienki Park, located below, a major tourist attraction. For security reasons, the park has had to be partly closed during visits by foreign heads of state to the Belweder. Due to the size of ?azienki Park, this has proven difficult and time-consuming, and the Polish press has mocked Secret Service agents checking the bushes and disturbing the Park’s peacocks.
Belweder is normally used by the President and the government for ceremonial purposes, while the President resides at the “Presidential Palace” in the city centre. It also serves as an official residence for heads of state on official visits to Poland and other important guests. There have been plans to turn the Belweder Palace into a museum dedicated to Józef Pi?sudski. Currently it houses a small exhibition devoted to the Marshal. However, the current president of Poland, Bronis?aw Komorowski, has chosen to make Belweder his official residence.